Technology giant Hewlett-Packard announced its high-definition videoconferencing software SkyRoom, aimed at providing small and midsize businesses with live, real-time collaboration for face-to-face meetings with no subscription fees. SkyRoom is available worldwide preinstalled at no cost on the HP Z800, Z600, Z400 and xw4600 workstations. HP said select premium business PCs and notebooks due out from HP in the coming months would include a 90-day trial of HP SkyRoom, which would be available for purchase thereafter. Customers using current HP workstations, desktops, notebooks or non-HP systems can purchase HP SkyRoom for $149.
SkyRoom's multithreaded video engine enables all participants to see the presenter's display and each other through a multiway videoconferencing session. The software's image engine gives remote users a view of the host presenter's desktop and its applications as if they were using a local machine. It enables the display of 2-D and 3-D graphics, full-motion video and multidisplay on a system that only has a 2-D graphics card. Software on the presenter's system monitors and updates only changes in screen appearance - not the entire display - then compresses and encrypts the information before sending it to the participants, where it is decrypted, decompressed and updated.
With SkyRoom, users can many types of applications supported on their PC or workstation, including office documents, streaming video and interactive 3-D applications. Users click a contact to connect, which initiates a live SkyRoom session. Another click shares the desktop or rich media content. HP said SkyRoom is the culmination of three years of research to design video and image compression algorithms by HP Labs into a customer-centric implementation by the HP Workstation team.
To run HP SkyRoom on any vendor PC, minimum requirements are Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33-GHz or equivalent processor with 2 GB RAM, a webcam and Microsoft Windows XP or Vista. Minimum network requirement is a broadband network with a minimum transfer rate of 400kb/second. SkyRoom must run over a corporate VPN to connect to systems outside the local firewall, the company noted.
"Finally, video meetings with genuine eye contact and natural human interaction are as easy as starting an instant messaging connection," said Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager, Workstations, HP. "It takes business productivity and collaboration to a completely new level when we can connect people around the world in a day via HP SkyRoom and let them get home to family dinner and bedtime stories - without the wear and tear of travel."